What is a Business Economics Degree?
A business economics degree focuses on the theory of how the economy works. Undergraduate economics degrees generally cover both macroeconomics (the big picture) and microeconomics, which focuses on small cogs within economic machine. Those studying economics will usually take general business classes and then general economics classes. Economics degrees also include many math classes. Bachelor’s degrees in economics will introduce students to economic theory, but in-depth research work based on the most complex economic theories is generally reserved for graduate students.
What are the Requirements for a Business Economics Degree?
First, students must be admitted to a university that offers an economics degree. They must have graduated from high school beforehand. Most universities require students to submit SAT or ACT test scores. Universities may also require a minimum high school GPA, although this can vary from 2.5 to 3.5 or more depending on how selective the university is. Once admitted, students must complete roughly two years of general education courses, a year of general business courses, and a year of economics courses. Most universities have similar degree tracks, although there is inevitably some variance.
What Can I Do With a Business Economics Major?
The business economics major is very versatile. Most students will enter the workforce upon graduation, although some will pursue graduate education. Those who go straight to work may go to work for financial companies or research institutes. Of course, many students simply go into entry-level management positions at companies in a wide variety of industries. Also, many economics graduates end up starting their own businesses.
|New York City, New York
|New York City, New York
|Utah State University
|Georgia State University
|Washington State University
25 Best Business Economics Degree Programs
Baruch College is one of the constituent institutions of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. Baruch offers both a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Economics. The BBA degree is more focused on business practices, while the Economics degree is more focused on theory.
Lehman College is another member of the CUNY system, which is known for providing quality education at an affordable price. Its Bachelor’s degree in Economics offers students a well-rounded education in the field. This program can be taken on campus in Bronx, New York or entirely over the Internet.
Utah State University
Utah State University may be thousands of miles away from the first two schools on our list, but it is also an affordable public university. USU offers both a B.S. and a B.A. in Economics. The two programs are very similar, with the main difference being the B.A. degree’s foreign language requirement.
Georgia State University
Georgia State University may be one of the lesser-known schools on this list, but it has a leading economics program. This program is known for being particularly strong in economic policy analysis. Students can pursue graduate education in economics at GSU, with the school even offering a Ph.D. program.
Washington State University
Washington State University is one of the best public universities in the Pacific Northwest, so it should be no surprise that it makes this list. Its B.S. in Economic Sciences offers students instruction in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and econometrics. Students can choose from many different specializations, including quantitative economics, international economics, business economics, agricultural economics, and environmental economics.
Oregon State University
Oregon State University offers a highly-ranked B.A. degree in Economics. This degree can be completed on-campus or online from anywhere in the country. OSU offers specializations in Managerial Economics, Law, Economics, and Policy, and Mathematical Economics.
University of California – San Diego
The University of California – San Diego has a strong economics program. Many of the faculty members in the university’s economics department are highly decorated in the field. This program has a strong focus on mathematics.
University of Texas – Dallas
The University of Texas – Dallas has the highest-ranked economics program in the state. UTD offers both a B.A. and a B.S. in Economics. The B.S. degree focuses more heavily on math.
Pennsylvania State University – Behrend
Business Economics is a quantitatively-oriented program of study in applied economics. Leading to a B.S. degree, Penn State Behrend’s B.S. in Business Economics combines in-depth study of economics with a general business background, the latter including courses in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing, and quantitative business analysis. Students may choose upper-division economics courses in business and economic forecasting, econometrics, economic theory, money and banking, international economics, labor economics, managerial economics, and experimental and behavioral economics. Use of computers as analytical and problem-solving tools is emphasized in the program. The major also includes several non-business supporting areas of study from which students may choose courses.
Liberty University is a private Christian university with a strong economics program. The degree offered is technically a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Economics focus. This ensures that students have a well-rounded education that prepares them for a variety of careers.
Harvard University offers one of the finest economics programs in the entire world, and it only falls out of our top 10 due to its pricy tuition. Harvard’s B.A. in Economics allows students to customize their degree track to suit their interests. Many students go on to pursue graduate study in law, business, and other fields.
Stanford University also has one of the strongest economics departments in the world. Its undergraduate economics degree allows students to choose one of five specializations. The school’s 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio ensures that students get the personalized attention they need to get the most out of their education.
Washington University St. Louis
Washington University St. Louis has the top economics program in Missouri. Students have the opportunity to study abroad to learn about the economies of other countries. They also have numerous internship opportunities to ensure that they have some practical experience under their belts before they graduate.
Georgetown University has of the most innovative undergraduate economics programs on this list. The Georgetown Center for Economic Research is one of the leading institutions in the field, and students can benefit from this during their studies. Students who plan to continue their studies past the bachelor’s degree level will be happy to hear that Georgetown also boasts excellent graduate economics programs.
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University is best-known for its medical school, but it also has a top-notch economics program. Its Bachelor’s degree in Economics gives students an overview of the field instead of focusing on one area. The program focuses on quantitative reasoning and effective communication about economic subjects.
Northwestern University edges out the University of Chicago to be the top-ranked school on our list from Illinois. Many students who major in economics at Northwestern University double-major in another field, such as political science or mathematics. Students can even get both their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in four years if they are accepted into the accelerated dual-degree program.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania, commonly called “Penn,” is an Ivy League institution with an elite economics program. Undergraduate students can even publish papers in the university’s undergraduate economics journal. Students also have the opportunity to work with complex and powerful economics software.
Duke University is known as one of the best universities in the South, and economics is its most popular undergraduate major. Duke is one of the few universities to offer tutoring specifically for economics students. Students can also benefit from Duke’s groundbreaking economic research.
New York University
New York University is located in arguably the world’s biggest economic center, so it’s not surprising to find it on this list. The Bachelor’s degree in Economics at NYU can be taken with either a Theory concentration or a Policy concentration. Exceptional students can join the honor’s program, which requires a senior thesis for graduation.
Boston College offers a highly ranked and innovative undergraduate degree in economics. This program is heavily focused on research. Students also have the opportunity to get hands-on experience through a variety of internships.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is a business-focused private university with a strong economics program. This program offers innovative classes to prepare students for the challenges of the modern economy. Roughly one-third of students pursue graduate study in economics, which is much higher than the rate at many similar institutions.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California has the top-ranked economics program in the state. Economics is one of the most popular majors at USC. Undergraduate students are allowed to collaborate with their professors on research, which is not always the case at similar universities.
Boston University is a leading research university with strong programs in many areas, including economics. Economics majors at BU are allowed to minor in another field to broaden their educational horizons. Students compete for departmental honors by submitting research papers and defending them in front of a committee.
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago finishes behind rival Northwestern on our list, but its economics program is still very strong. This program focuses on economic models and price determination. Students have a great deal of flexibility to customize their degree plan.
Brandeis University boasts a leading economics program which is actually the most popular area of study for its students. Students are encouraged to pursue their own research projects. Brandeis offers many innovative courses that blend economics with other areas of the arts and sciences.
How We Formulated These Rankings
We took two factors into consideration when we were coming up with these rankings. First and foremost, we looked at the yearly tuition rate that each school charges. Schools that charge different rates for in-state students and non-resident students only had their in-state tuition rate considered. Secondly, we also looked at each school’s graduation rate. To come up with our rating for each school, we took the yearly tuition rate and added a multiplier equivalent to the percentage of students who didn’t graduate. For example, a school that has yearly tuition of $50,000 and a graduation rate of 90% would have a rating of 55,000 (50,000 x 110%). Lower ratings result in better rankings on our list.
If you represent one of the institutions on this list and you need to make a correction or ask a question, feel free to reach out to us.
What You Need to Know Before Choosing to Study Economics
Are you interested in pursuing an Economics degree but you’re not sure if it’s right for you? Or maybe you’re a parent of a student interested in attending college or grad school. Either way, this article will cover what you need to know before enrolling in a program at a college or university. You’ll find out everything that an Econ major will cover, which degree is right for you, possible career paths and earning potential, tips for success, and much more.
What is an Economics Major?
An Economics major is a degree option where students learn the analytical skills for understanding some of the most important economic issues in the world today. Throughout your studies, you’ll learn to gather, interpret, and organize data to improve economic efficiency. You can then apply those principles to assist in finance, business, or the public sector. Some of the topics covered in your studies will include economic theory, wealth, poverty, and environmental concerns.
What to Expect From Different Degree Programs
With the many different options out there, selecting a program can be a little bit confusing. To start, let’s take a look at the two types of degree programs students can enroll in – the Associate’s degree and the Bachelor’s degree program. Deciding which is the right option for you will depend on the career path you are most interested in. If you’re still undecided, then not worry, we’ll cover different job opportunities for graduates later in this article.
Associate Degree in Economics
The Associate’s degree program is an excellent option for students wanting a broader understanding of economics. You will learn the basics of microeconomics, macroeconomic theory, applied math sciences, as well as some business courses. 60 semester credits are required to graduate, which will take roughly two years to complete for most students studying full-time.
Upon graduating, you won’t be able to immediately find a job with a six-figure salary, but you’ll have the understanding of the fundamentals of what you need to obtain an entry-level position or higher. While every position differs, according to Payscale, the average salary after earning an Associate degree in economics is $52,402. You can also apply your credits to move onto a four-year econ program and continue your studies more in-depth.
Associate of Economics Degree Program Courses
- Business Statistics
- Business Calculus
- Estate Planning
- Financial Accounting
- International Economics
Bachelor of Economics
Enrolling in a Bachelor’s program will allow you to develop a much greater understanding of the field. During this four-year, 120 credit program, you’ll gain extensive knowledge in microeconomics, macroeconomics, as well as studying the more technical and mathematical aspects of the industry.
Obtaining your bachelor’s is an excellent choice if you want to open yourself up to management-level positions in finance, business, or banking in the future. The median salary of a Bachelor of Economics graduate is $70,986. Depending on your career goals, you can choose to continue your education at graduate school.
Bachelor of Economics Degree Program Courses
- Calculus and Statistical Analysis
- Money and Banking
- Microeconomic Analysis
- Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy
- Labor and Industrial Organizations
Online Economics Degree Courses
Some students will choose to earn their degree online due to various reasons such as increased program flexibility, having more free time, cheaper tuition costs, or improved quality of learning. Deciding whether to study on campus or online is a personal decision that you have to make based on all of these factors.
It’s important to note that every student has a unique learning style. This non-traditional option may be a good choice for students who require little hands-on learning, less face-to-face communication, and are self-disciplined. Many introverts opt for completing their Economics degree online simply for the fact that they learn better independently.
What is the Difference Between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science?
When choosing between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS), there are a few important points to note. When earning your BA, you’ll study more about social sciences and humanities, while as a BS student, you’ll focus on the mathematical and natural science aspects of the field. Both degrees can land you a high-paying career with many job growth opportunities in positions such as a researcher or financial analyst.
Are you ready to choose an online degree program? Check out this comprehensive guide of the best online economic degrees.
Economics Degree Versus an Accounting Degree
If you’re unsure whether you’re interested in earning an Econ degree versus an Accounting degree, you wouldn’t be the first. They have some similarities for students because both fields are related to goods and services. However, in the field of accounting, your role will be record-keeping, whereas economics involves collecting and analyzing the different variables concerning goods and services.
Since we have already covered the subjects you would study in different economics degrees, let’s go over some of the topics you may study when earning an accounting degree.
- Business Law
- Corporate Finance
- Financial Markets
- Management Accounting
Did you notice a couple of similar subjects that you might study in economics? While you may develop an understanding of some practices, the purpose and outcome of each course will be quite different. If you wish to pursue accounting after earning your degree in Economics – you can – but you’ll need further professional qualifications.
Economics Degree Versus a Commerce Degree
Are you considering either a Bachelor of Commerce or a Bachelor of Economics degree? Like Economics and Accounting, there are some similarities as well as some differences between the two. A Bachelor of Commerce is a business degree where you learn about the financial structure of different organizations. You’ll understand turning a profit, meeting market demands, and trading products, just to name a few.
If you choose to study Commerce, some of your subjects will include:
- Fundamentals of Accounting
- International Business
- Human Resource Management
- Marketing Management
Concerning the different majors we just covered, another option is earning a dual degree. Studying two subjects in depth can help open you up to more job opportunities than a single education background would alone.
If you wish to study both Econ and Accounting, you’ll learn how to resolve economic issues as well as identify accounting issues. This looks great on the resume for many employers. On the other hand, if you choose to double major in Economics and Commerce, both fields of study can complement the other and allow you to develop extensive business skills.
Why You Should Consider Studying Economics
Graduates Are in High Demand
First and foremost, you should consider studying Economics because of the high demand for graduates with these degrees. Students develop problem-solving and analytical skills that can be applied to a wide range of careers, so your options are vast. Not to mention, there isn’t expected to be a shortage of career paths for graduates anytime soon since Econ is such a global issue.
Have a Greater Understanding of Your Spending Habits
Naturally, you’ll develop a greater understanding of your spending habits when you study Economics. According to Harvard Business Online, Willingness to Pay (WTP) is the maximum a customer is willing to pay for a service or goods. They also state that there is a frequent gap between hypothetical and actual WTP. Studying this theory in-depth will allow you to value and improve your spending habits.
Economics Degrees Look Great on Your Resume
Employers love Econ degrees because the skills learned in the program are highly transferable to a variety of careers. Graduates are highly sought after because of the traits they possess when it comes to crunching numbers, solving problems, and interpreting data. This degree will look great on your resume for many potential employers.
Potential Career Paths for Graduates
Now that you know about what the different Econ degree programs consist of, like many students, you may be wondering where you can work once you earn your degree. Fortunately, the options are numerous. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular potential career paths for graduates below.
What Can I do With an Associate of Economics?
We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular career options for graduates with an Associate’s degree. Keep in mind, for each position, we have quoted the median salary according to PayScale for the year 2020.
- Financial Analyst – $61,372 / year
The job duties of a financial analyst include analyzing and providing financial guidance for businesses. This can include matters related to stocks, bonds, and any other type of investment decision you can think of. Generally, companies seek the help of a financial analyst to reach their business goals with whichever resources they currently have available.
- Budget Analyst – $62,188 / year
If you seek a position as a budget analyst, you will be required to evaluate budget proposals and funding requests. You will likely be required to collaborate with program or project managers to organize the institution’s finances. This role can be anywhere from the government, businesses, or within colleges and universities.
- Financial Advisor – $82,815 / year
This position is similar to the role of a financial analyst. However, rather than helping businesses, financial advisors help individuals by making suggestions for investments, such as stocks and bonds. Covering everything from saving for a home, college, or retirement, they can help determine financial risk and create plans to help clients achieve their financial goals in the short and long-term.
- Sales Manager – $91,563 / year
Sales managers help set and manage an institution’s sales policies, as well as short-term and long-term objectives. In this role, you would evaluate current sales and create plans to improve future sales potential and increase customer satisfaction. There is a huge variety of companies you can work in the public sector as a sales manager.
What Can I do With a Bachelor of Economics?
Upon earning your Bachelor’s degree, you open yourself up to a variety of great career choices because of how much more you’ll learn in your extra year or two of studies. These annual salaries are calculated from Payscale the average base salary in the United States and may vary.
- Auditor – $57,348 / year
Auditors are in charge of reviewing and monitoring finances and accounts of organizations or individuals, with their primary focus being to ensure that all records are both accurate and legal. Auditors are employable by the government, as well as financial consultancy businesses.
- Financial Risk Analyst – $65,405 / year
Working as a financial risk analyst, you open yourself up to a career working for hedge funds, insurance, or in the public sector. In this role, you will be in charge of risk management for an organization. Your duties could consist of making decisions to control potential risks, monitoring current market trends, and analyzing risks of natural disasters, amongst others.
- Actuarial Analyst – $65,537 / year
Beginning a career as an actuarial analyst, you will most likely work for insurance agencies or other financial service organizations. With a strong focus on mathematics and statistics, your duties will primarily consist of, evaluating risks or establishing how much people should pay for their insurance premiums.
- Economic Consultant – $76,213 / year
In this field, an economic consultant analyzes financial statistical data and provides consultancy expertise in areas such as finance, marketing, labor, and IT. They also study various possible economic situations and phenomena, allowing businesses and policymakers to create strategic decisions. Some possible employers include research facilities, financial companies, as well as private and public agencies.
- Financial Manager – $92,388 / year
There are plenty of work opportunities in the career path of a financial manager because they are opened up to work for almost any type of company. In this position, you will be required to work with other managers to help the company meet its financial goals. This could mean coming up with strategies for investments, savings, pensions, or insurance.
Master’s Degree Options
Does an increased earning potential interest you once you’ve completed your Economics degree program? By earning a Master’s degree in economics, graduates can benefit from higher salaries immediately after university. When you continue your studies, you’ll learn additional skills that will set you apart from your peers, improve your career opportunities, increase flexibility in changing careers, and even put yourself on the fast track to receiving a promotion once you’ve been hired. So what are some of the different accelerated options available?
One-Year Master’s Degree
Gone are the days where you have to spend at least two or three years at minimum earning your Master’s degree. Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, there are a variety of accelerated options for you.
You can specialize in a specific career path or choose to generalize to open up other job options. Many students choose to earn their Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in addition to their Economics degree. The two go hand-in-hand very well. An Economics MBA can teach you important skills, such as how to apply economic theory to business planning and decision-making, which looks excellent on the resume.
Accelerated Online Options
Online graduate programs are becoming an increasingly popular option in this day and age, especially after the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. Even if you’ve previously graduated with a traditional in-person undergraduate degree, you can still choose to complete your Master’s degree in an online program.
One of the greatest advantages is that you can finish your studies much faster than in-person if you have the time to put in the work. Many employers will also hire you in your chosen field while you’re still studying, which can be an appealingly flexible option for many working professionals.
Not sure if an online graduate program is ideal for you? For more information on some of the tips and traits you’ll need when it comes to studying online, have a look at “Tips for Taking Online Classes: 8 Strategies for Success.”
How to Decide if a Master’s Program is Right For You
The benefits of further education are clear, however, that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. If a Master’s degree isn’t necessary for getting you where you want to be career-wise, then you may be better off saving time and money.
If it is something you think could benefit you, then you’ll have to be honest with yourself about what you have going on in your life before applying. This includes everything from work and family, to your financial situation and any other commitments that could interfere. If continuing your Econ studies is an option, then be sure to check with the school where you earned your undergraduate degree. Your career center or school counselor should be able to help you make an informed decision.
For more information on one-year Master’s degree programs, including online options, have a look at “Best 1 Year Masters Programs in 2020.”
How to Prepare for an Economics Degree
Classes You Can Take
Every university has different prerequisites, so make sure you’re able to meet those requirements as early as possible. You’ll likely need to take econ and math classes before taking any upper-level courses if you haven’t already. With that being said, if you’re still in high school and you have the opportunity to study economics, you should do so for an easier transition into university.
Helpful Extracurricular Activities
Have you considered that there are some helpful extracurricular activities you can join or take part in while in school? Even your hobbies can propel you forward in your Economics career, which is why we’ve compiled a list of a few fun and beneficial activities that might interest you.
1. Learn a language – This is an excellent skill to have for any career path and it can greatly increase your odds of getting hired in the world of econ. Studies show that, once you’ve learned a second language, it’s even easier to learn others. This will be super helpful, especially to students interested in pursuing a career with an international company or even relocating.
2. The debate team – Joining the debate team is an excellent way to develop better critical thinking and verbal communication skills. Both of these qualities are important to have in most careers, but particularly when it comes to economics. Your experience on the debate team can also improve your oral presentation and ability to delegate in your chosen profession.
3. Volunteer – Volunteering your time is one of the greatest things you can do not only to bring happiness to your life but also to increase your chances of getting hired after graduation. Any type of volunteering will help, but you may want to consider applying to organizations related to your field of study, like the Center for the Study of Economics in Philadelphia.
4. Start a business – Since you’ll be surrounded by business subject matters already, why not start your own company and put that knowledge to practical use? Not every student will have the time to do this, but entrepreneurship can teach you skills that will stick around for the rest of your career. Your teachers and mentors can also be incredibly helpful in offering advice to get your business idea off the ground.
5. Read books on Economics – While you’ll be reading plenty of books on econ throughout your studies, you may wish to dig even deeper during your spare time. Check out this list of “The 8 Best Economics Books of 2021” for inspiration.
6. Join an Economics Club – Many schools will have an existing student-run Economics Club. No matter which university you attend, this group exists to enhance the experience and the knowledge of its econ students. The more you surround yourself with your field of study, the more you’ll learn. Plus, you’ll likely meet some peers who can network with and with whom you may end up being lifelong friends.
Tips for Learning
Once you’ve enrolled in a college or university Economics program, you’ll want to know some study tips to show up fully prepared. This advice can be applied to any course, whether they are in-person or online. Not to worry, these tips won’t consist of us telling you to simply not miss your lectures, study your material, and sleep well the night before your exams – all of that goes without saying.
1. Read for understanding – Don’t just read a textbook for the sake of breezing through it, be sure you’re reading to understand each portion of the text. Begin by spending a decent amount of time going over the outline for the chapter so you understand what you’re going to be learning. Next, spend some time on the introduction rather than skipping over it. After that, read each topic one at a time. After each section, try to recall the key points and understand how it relates to the next topic. Ask yourself broad, open-ended questions about the text you covered. This will help you master material as you go, rather than cramming before a test.
2. Don’t fall behind – Econ is a cumulatively acquired topic. Understanding the subject requires cumulative learning, which means you need to continue to gradually understand it over time. This can be compared to learning mathematics. Don’t let yourself fall far behind or you will have a difficult time catching up in your studies.
3. Ask for an exam outline – Your instructor may be willing to provide you with an exam outline and let you know what will be covered on the test. Of course you won’t find out the exact questions, but it’s meant to be used as a general guideline. With that being said, it’s best to find out at least a few weeks in advance to help you prepare.
4. Master the art of note-taking – Many students make the mistake of being over-eager and writing down everything their professor says when taking notes. This is a huge mistake and a waste of time. Skip over definitions and terms that you already know, while jotting down quick notes on new concepts. Spend more time understanding the concepts your teacher is talking about and use note-taking to clarify points you don’t understand.
5. Create a cheatsheet – To clarify, we don’t mean bringing a cheat sheet to an exam that doesn’t allow it. However, you can benefit from creating a cheat sheet that you go over up until your exam, even if you throw it away right before. This can help keep certain concepts fresh in your mind, especially the ones you’ve had difficulty remembering for that particular course.
6. Vary your study methods – Rather than simply studying from your textbook or notes each time, try to switch up your methods of studying. Some excellent ideas include mind mapping, creating flashcards for vocabulary, and watching videos. For more tips on varying your ways to study, head to the University of St. Augustine’s “10 Effective Study Techniques to Try This Year.”
Take the Next Step Towards Your Economics Degree
We hope this information helped you figure out if choosing to study Economics is right for you. Majoring in Econ can open up a world of opportunity if you’re interested in studying industry trends, business management, law, and the forces that drive the economy. Remember that this field involves a great deal of both analytical thought and mathematics, so consider that when choosing your major.